Posted by Mike Merritt in Personal Life on

I would like to take a moment to quote that oft-quoted quote: “Hindsight is 20/20.”

In this case, it’s about college choices. Lets go back to the beginning:

In my Freshman year, my first ever political science teacher made the suggestion that I consider double majoring in the subject along with communications. I did consider it for a little while, but eventually came to the conclusion that it was more work than I was willing to put myself through. I reasoned that if failed to live up to the major, that would suck. Plus, at the time, I had a goal of getting out of college in four years, a goal I have now more or less achieved (knock on wood Spring semester classes!). So since halfway through my Sophomore year, political science has been my minor.

Fast forward three and a half years to tonight. I took a break in my studies for my Communication Theory class, and waltzed over to the student information website, which displays all sorts of details about my history at college, including what classes I’ve taken.

Well, I already knew I’d completed most of my requirements, except that lagging Writing Portfolio, which was handed in on Tuesday; it’s just waiting for a grade. The “Degree Evaluation” program is a wonder; it lets you know what you’ve done, what still needs to be done, and all the classes you’ve taken.

On the other hand, it’s not perfect. For example, some classes that are clearly part of my communication major are not listed under that section. It says I have 36 credits done; it’s more like 48. For some reason, it counts some of them only under electives, even though in other sections of the DE, it double dips on the counting.

For my political science minor, some classes are listed as completing General Education Requirements, because apparently those classes are not exclusive to the minor you’re taking, like the major ones are. Still, a couple classes are still not listed in the minor section. Well, I decided to count up all the minor-related classes I’ve taken, including the ones counted as GERs.

It turns out that at this point in time I am one class short of completing the political science major. I have all of the following requirements completed:

  1. The two introductory courses, American Government and Politics and International Relations.
  2. The five political science electives (I actually have six).
  3. Three “skills courses.”

The only course I don’t have is the “Political Research Methods” course.

That sort of sucks. Three and a half years after deciding not to double major, I have almost all the requirements to do it. At this point, I’m unsure if changing the minor into a major would affect much. According to the website, six of the 36 credits can be used to satisfy GERs. Currently, six of my credits do this. However, the website does have discrepancies in other areas, including stating in the introductory paragraph that four skills courses are required compared to the three used elsewhere, and an initial statement of requiring 36 credits for the minor, then saying 24 in the very next sentence.

There’s another problem I currently have. I believe that in most majors at my school, a C or better is required to avoid needing to re-take a class. In one of my skills courses, I didn’t do so hot, so I might of had to re-take it, had I double majored.

All that aside, there are three possible options, depending on certain circumstances:

  1. Assuming that I didn’t have to substitute any GERs, and that I didn’t have to re-take the skills course, I could see if the Research Methods course is offered during the summer. Of course, this would require $900 I just don’t have and already used for my internship last summer; money gone to waste for never seeing my adviser in person.
  2. Take another semester. This might be my preferred option between this and the first, since it would cost less for me if I got financial aid. Not having filled out a FAFSA this year might makes things difficult, though. Still, assuming I could get financial aid, I would get the chance to be part of the TV club for one more semester. On the other hand, getting financial aid would also mean having to take at least 12 credits, and I’m not sure if I could actually find any courses at this point. Everybody’s already registered. So, while #2 is the preferred option, it’s highly unachievable at this late in the game.
  3. Do nothing, and graduate in May. Of all three options, this is probably the one I like the most, yet the one I’m most torn about. I’m happy to move on from the academic side of things, but don’t want to leave the club, which is what’s appealing about option #2. Still, between not having $900, and the unlikeliness of getting financial aid, #3 is the most realistic option at this point.

If I had foreseen three and a half years ago that at this point in my college career, I’d be one course away from getting two degrees this May, I probably would have gone for it. It would have required significantly more work, but I think I could have done it.

Yet, here I am, with 20/20 hindsight hitting me hard. Still, I’m not very disappointed about my decision to go with a minor back then instead of a major. Since halfway through my Sophomore year of high school, I felt pretty confident I knew where my future lie. And in the almost six and a half years since then, I haven’t felt wrong about it once. On the other hand, the thought of knowing I could have gotten two degrees in May will live with me for a long time.

Here’s to the future…

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